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August 25, 2007 / vivator

Salvation by faith + works?

Some non-Catholics and even some Catholics think that Catholics believe in salvation by faith plus works.  But this does not give accurate presentation what the Catholic Church teaches for two reasons.   First, “faith plus good works” says nothing about the role of God’s Grace in both faith and obeying Him through good works.  It makes good works become our own efforts, which, as we will see later, is not the teaching of the Catholic Church.  Second, faith plus works might lead to the question: how much good works a Catholic must perform in order to secure a place in heaven?  One former Catholic rhetorically asked me: how many Masses?  How many good works?  Another former Catholic, James McCarthy, founder of Good News for Catholics Ministry, developed sets of card to “evangelize” Catholics.  He called it Pocket Evangelism Kit.  Unwary Catholics are asked to pick card of which brief statement describes their understanding of how to be saved – whatever card he/she picks McCarthy will point out that it does not work.

If he selects the “Doing Good Works” card, the question is, “How many good works do you have to do to get into heaven?”

McCarthy, Conversations with Catholics, page 51

There is no such thing as minimum quota of good works for salvation in Catholic’s teaching! 

The accurate Catholic position on salvation is Catholics believe that we are saved by God’s Grace.   Without God’ Grace that first moves us, both to believe in Him & Christ and to obey His commandments, we cannot reach our salvation.   The teaching that Grace precedes all our actions in relation to our salvation was declared by the Catholic Church in Council of Orange in 529 AD and reaffirmed in the Council of Trent in 1547.

If anyone says that God has mercy upon us when, apart from his grace, we believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock, but does not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought; or if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, “What have you that you did not receive?” [1 Corinthians 4:7], and, “But by the grace of God I am what I am” [1 Corinthians 15:10].

Canon VI of Council of Orange

For, whereas Jesus Christ Himself continually infuses his virtue into the said justified,-as the head into the members, and the vine into the branches,-and this virtue always precedes and accompanies and follows their good works, which without it could not in any wise be pleasing and meritorious before God,

Council of Trent, Decree on Justification XVI

If any one saith, that without the prevenient inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and without his help, man can believe, hope, love, or be penitent as he ought, so as that the grace of Justification may be bestowed upon him; let him be anathema.

Council of Trent, Canon III of the Decree on Justification

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18 Comments

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  1. tiber jumper / Aug 29 2007 7:23 pm

    thanks for the nice post!
    Good stuff, the way you lay it out, telling the truth from the misconceptions

  2. Bible Study / Oct 15 2010 5:59 pm

    Matter of opinion?

  3. Jeph / Feb 1 2012 11:07 am

    To summarize what you said here, you are telling us that Catholicism…

    1) teaches Salvation by grace; at least in the sense that Salvation is God’s initiative and that we cannot perform good deeds to merit eternal life apart from the divine enablement and assistance,

    2) but this initiative on God’s part does not guarantee Salvation. Man must cooperate with grace in order to live righteously,

    3) Thus, at the end of the day, it is man’s contribution (in terms of his cooperation with grace and perseverance therein) which will ultimately determine his eternal destiny,

    I’m sorry, but to me this is still anti-sola gratia in the final analysis. You say that Salvation is by grace, but your immediate explanation reveals that your statement deals only with the question: “Whose initiative is it?” but not to the question “Whose work is it from first to last?” For Rome Salvation is just initiated by God (by providing the sacraments and giving prevenient enabling and sanctifying grace), but man’s freewill is still the final arbiter of his eternal destiny at the end of the day.

    If an honest Roman Catholic is asked what ultimately makes the saved to differ from the lost when both of them are given the sufficient grace to be saved, his answer would be: “Because the former willed to cooperate with grace, but the latter refused to.” It is not God’s grace that makes the saved to differ; it’s their freewill!

    But St. Augustine would have a different answer. Though he would agree that cooperation with grace is necessary, he would deny that this cooperation is what ultimate makes the saved differ from the lost. God’s exclusive and instrinsically efficacious grace is what makes the elect to differ. The very willingness to cooperate with grace is God’s gift of grace itself, and it is monergistically endowed (unto the end) only to the elect. This is in light of Paul’s words in 1 Cor. 4:7: “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?”

    Paul asks: “For who maketh thee to differ?” The Roman Catholic will say, “My willingness to cooperate makes me to differ.” But the apostle Paul, St. Augustine, and the Calvinists would immediately reply, “and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” Here, a line is drawn distinguishing those who consistently hold to Sola Gratia (that Salvation is by Grace from first to last) and to those who just falsely think they are.

    • vivator / Feb 6 2012 9:52 pm

      God is our creator – He created everything in us, including our free-will. After all we are created after His image – we are different than animals and plants. God let us use our freewill to respond to His Grace. Catholics do believe we receive everything from Him (1 Cor 4:7), there is nothing we can do to contribute to our salvation. It seems you insist Catholics must contribute in their salvation but if there is such contribution then the next question is what is our minimum contribution? There is no such thing in Catholicism! We enter heaven upon dying when we die without un-repented mortal sin – it depends neither on the amount and quality of our good works nor on amount and quality of our sins.

      You wrote “It is not God’s grace that makes the saved to differ; it’s their freewill!” You are totally wrong – Catholics believe in predestination; if our freewill is the determining factor on whether we are saved or doomed, then there is no predestination and it is semi-pelagianism (which most Calvinists confuse with synergism). God gives the Elect sufficient and efficacious grace while the Reprobate receive sufficient and inefficacious grace. Because of this in Catholicism the Reprobate is ultimately responsible for their damnation while in Calvinism they end-up in hell because God wants them to be there from eternity (the so-called double predestination). The problem with double predestination of Calvinim is it goes against Scripture, like 1 Cor 15:22 (even John Calvin skipped this verse in his commentary).

      For better explanation you may read my post on predestination at:
      https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2007/08/12/predestination-in-catholicism/

      • FourFingersBackAtYou / Feb 15 2012 4:49 pm

        I must assume that you continually misrepresent the majority view in Calvinism because you recognize its internal coherence and its dedication to biblical truth. Thus I agree the biblical doctrines of grace (Calvinism, if you will) are the biggest threat to Catholic theology.

        You write: “… in Calvinism [the Reprobate] end-up in hell because God wants them to be there from eternity (the so-called double predestination).”
        The Synod of Dort (1618-19) condemned that notion and reaffirmed that man is responsible for his own damnation. The Canons of Dort are part of the Reformed confession, and its substance was incorporated into the Westminster Confession and Catechisms in the mid-seventeenth century.
        In other words, there is no equal correspondence between the predestination of the elect, and the foreordination of the reprobate.

        Quoting Michael Horton from the Jan/Feb 2012 edition of Modern Reformation:

        “In its conclusion Dort faces squarely perennial caricatures. These doctrines of grace do not lead to license or to a view of an arbitrary deity. Dort denies “that in the same manner in which the election is the foundation and cause of faith and good works, reprobation is the cause of unbelief and impiety.” In fact, this “the Reformed Churches not only do not acknowledge, but even detest with their whole soul.”

        Wikipedia on Double predestination:

        “Calvinistic predestination is sometimes referred to as “double predestination.” This is the view that God chose who would go to heaven, and who to hell, and that his decision will infallibly come to pass. The difference between elect and reprobate is not in themselves, all being equally unworthy, but in God’s sovereign decision to show mercy to some, to save some and not to save others. It is called double predestination because it holds that God chose both whom to save and whom to damn, as opposed to single predestination which contends that though he chose whom to save, HE DID NOT CHOOSE WHOM TO DAMN.”

        Wikipedia on Equal Ultimacy:

        “The Westminster Confession of Faith uses different words for the act of God’s election and reprobation: “predestinated” and “foreordained” respectively. This suggests that the two do not operate in the same way. The term “equal ultimacy” is sometimes used of the view that the two decrees are symmetrical: God works equally to keep the elect in heaven and the reprobate out of heaven… This view is sometimes ERRONEOUSLY referred to as “double predestination”, on which see above.”

        Based on common usage and the above, you would be more accurate to say that Calvinism is about predestination, not “double-predestination.” Insist on using the term “double-predestination” if you must, but be prepared to deal with Catholic Thomistic predestination which is virtually identical to Calvinism’s predestination. And may I add that your presumed ‘free will’ does not strengthen your case, as has been demonstrated elsewhere in this blog and confirmed by your own Catholic Encyclopedia.

      • vivator / Feb 15 2012 9:49 pm

        I am surprised you keep on denying double predestination in Calvinism. Below is what John Calvin wrote:

        By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which He determined within Himself whatever He wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death (Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion 3.21.6).

        In this English translation Calvin used the same word “preordained” and “predestined” for both the Elect and the Reprobate. Let’s look at Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF):

        Chapter 3: of God’s Eternal Decree
        III. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.

        WCF applies different words “predestined for life” and “foreordained to everlasting death”. Can you tell me the difference other than spelling of words?

        Chapter 3: of God’s Eternal Decree
        VII. The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, whereby He extends or withholds mercy, as He pleases, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice.

        Here WCF uses the word “to pass by” but then “to ordain them to dishonor and wrath”

        I checked decrees of Synod of Dort. Below is what I found:

        Article 15: Reprobation
        Moreover, Holy Scripture most especially highlights this eternal and undeserved grace of our election and brings it out more clearly for us, in that it further bears witness that not all people have been chosen but that some have not been chosen or have been passed by in God’s eternal election– those, that is, concerning whom God, on the basis of his entirely free, most just, irreproachable, and unchangeable good pleasure, made the following decision: to leave them in the common misery into which, by their own fault, they have plunged themselves; not to grant them saving faith and the grace of conversion; but finally to condemn and eternally punish them (having been left in their own ways and under his just judgment), not only for their unbelief but also for all their other sins, in order to display his justice. And this is the decision of reprobation, which does not at all make God the author of sin (a blasphemous thought!) but rather its fearful, irreproachable, just judge and avenger.

        Here it says God does not grant them (the Reprobate) saving faith and the grace of conversion and then “finally to condemn and eternally punish them”.

        You still denied there is no double predestination in Calvinism?

        You are entitled to believe there is no difference between Calvinism and Thomism and I am entitled to believe there is a difference coming from different view of freewill.

      • FourFingersBackAtYou / Feb 27 2012 2:43 pm

        Yes you are entitled to believe what you desire – but you are not entitled to misrepresent Calvinism as does the Catholic Encyclopedia here:
        “To be more specific, it is impossible to draw the details of the picture in which the Apostle compares God to the potter who hath “power over the clay, of the same lump, to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour” (Romans 9:21), without falling into the Calvinistic blasphemy that God predestined some men to hell and sin JUST AS POSITIVELY (emphasis mine) as he pre-elected others to eternal life.”
        http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12378a.htm

        So not only does Rome prove here once again that it prefers its own dogma over a clear reading of Romans 9, it also falsely characterizes Calvinism as ‘equal ultimacy’ or ‘double-predestination,’ thus grossly accusing God of being as active in reprobation as He is in predestination.

        It is also a disservice to yourself and your readers to conflate the terms ‘foreordination’ and ‘predestination.’ But then, fine distinctions like these are lost on those who do not want to see. The fall of man was ‘foreordained’ and God’s elect was ‘predestined.’ It is in that sense that one should interpret your citation from Calvin’s Institutes. The honest reader will see in the Institutes a consistent passive reprobation of fallen man along with the active predestination of the elect. Did you bother to read the entire context or did you simply pull from the Catholic apologists’ book of quick and dirty sound bites? Here are three citations pulled from the same Chapter which accurately reflect the corpus of Calvin’s work and refute your thesis:

        “…the grace of God being illustrated by the contrast–viz. that he does not adopt all promiscuously to the hope of salvation, but gives to some what he denies to others.”
        Calvin’s Institutes, Book 3, Chap. 21, Sec. 1.

        “…but that the immutable counsel of God, by which he predestinated to himself whomsoever he would, was alone effectual for their salvation.”
        Book 3, Chap. 21 Sec. 7.

        “But as the Lord seals his elect by calling and justification, so by excluding the reprobate either from the knowledge of his name or the sanctification of his Spirit…”
        Book 3, Chap. 21 Sec. 7.

        These citations prove a passive reprobation (God simply lets sinners be) and an active predestination of His elect. The passage from the Synod of Dort that you yourself provided also affirms this. How much proof do you need that you are simply wrong on Calvinism? Really?

        Here is Theopedia on the issue:

        “The term double predestination has been used to refer to the dual concepts of election and reprobation in Reformed theology. This is largely a pejorative term which leads to misconceptions of the Calvinist (or Reformed) doctrine. It has been used as a synonym for a “symmetrical” view of predestination which sees election and reprobation being worked out in an equally parallel mode of divine operation.
        The distortion of double predestination suggests a parallelism of foreordination and predestination by means of a positive symmetry, which may be called a positive-positive view of predestination. This is, God positively and actively intervenes in the lives of the elect to bring them to salvation; and in the same way God positively and actively intervenes in the life of the reprobate to bring him to sin.
        This distortion makes God the author of sin who punishes a person for doing what God monergistically and irresistibly moves man to do. This is not the Reformed view of predestination, but a gross and inexcusable caricature of the doctrine. Such a view may be identified with what is often loosely described as Hyper-Calvinism and involves a radical form of supralapsarianism. Such a view of predestination has been virtually universally and monolithically rejected by Reformed thinkers.
        The classic position of Reformed theology views predestination as double in that it involves both election and reprobation but not symmetrical with respect to the mode of divine activity. A strict parallelism of operation is denied. Rather predestination is viewed in terms of a positive-negative relationship.
        In the Reformed view God from all eternity decrees some to election and positively intervenes in their lives to work regeneration and faith by a monergistic work of grace. To the non-elect God withholds this monergistic work of grace, passing them by and leaving them to themselves. He does not monergistically work sin or unbelief in their lives. Thus, the mode of operation in the lives of the elect is not parallel with that operation in the lives of the reprobate. God works regeneration monergistically but never sin.” http://www.theopedia.com/Predestination

        Note how similar Calvinism is to Thomism, this from the Catholic Encyclopedia:
        “Thomist and Molinist theories:
        The Dominican or Thomist solution, as it is called, teaches in brief that God premoves each man in all his acts to the line of conduct which he subsequently adopts. It holds that this premotive decree inclines man’s will with absolute certainty to the side decreed, but that God adapts this premotion to the nature of the being thus premoved. It argues that as God possesses infinite power He can infallibly premove man–who is by nature a free cause–to choose a particular course freely, whilst He premoves the lower animals in harmony with their natures to adopt particular courses by necessity. Further, this premotive decree being inevitable though adapted to suit the free nature of man, provides a medium in which God foresees with certainty the future free choice of the human being. The premotive decree is thus PRIOR in order of thought to the Divine cognition of man’s future actions.” http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06259a.htm#tho

        This theory, championed by all Thomists and a few Molinists (as Bellarmine, Francisco Suárez, Francis de Lugo), asserts that God, by an absolute decree and without regard to any future supernatural merits, predestined from all eternity certain men to the glory of heaven, and then, in consequence of this decree, decided to give them all the graces necessary for its accomplishment.
        http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12378a.htm

        Your continual appeals to a presumed ‘free will’ in an attempt to distance Thomism from Calvinism fails. And your argument here is not with me – take this up with your own authority The Catholic Encyclopedia which affirms that in Thomism, grace is the starting point (not man’s free will), and that this grace is efficacious:

        “So it remains true that grace is not efficacious because free will consents, but conversely the free will consents because grace efficaciously premoves it to the willing and performance of a good act.”
        http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14698b.htm

        “Catholic systems of grace
        According as the theological examination of grace and free will in its efforts to demonstrate the mutual relations between the two took as its starting-point respectively either grace or free will, two pairs of closely related systems were evolved: Thomism and Augustinianism, which take grace as the starting-point, and Molinism and Congruism, which set out from free will.”
        http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06710a.htm

        “The Thomists, appealing to the authority of St. Augustine and St. Thomas, defend a system which follows the admitted facts to their logical conclusions. The elect are saved by the grace of God, which operates on their wills efficaciously and infallibly without detriment to their liberty; and since God sincerely desires the salvation of all men, He is prepared to grant that same grace to others, if they do not, by a free act, render themselves unworthy of it.”
        http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14698b.htm

        And because “he who asserts must prove,” the burden is upon you to explain how man’s ‘free will’ does not make a mockery of God’s sovereign election; or how an efficacious election on the part of God can be vitiated by a “free act,” because if man’s free will could thwart God’s efficacious will, then God’s will was not efficacious. The Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledges that Rome cannot reconcile these problems – it merely continues to propagate a dogmatic philosophical notion having no basis in scripture.

        I thank the Lord that the true doctrines of grace do not have such glaring incongruities. There are aspects we will never understand, yes – but I do not have to succumb to doctrines that contradict the scriptures. I am also grateful that I cannot claim free will in choosing God because it would certainly give me something to boast about. Ephesians 2:8-9.

        Please provide the official Roman Catholic interpretations of the following scriptures: John 16:15; John 6:37; 44.

      • vivator / Feb 28 2012 7:42 pm

        I need some time to study the issue deeper but to answer your question on John 6:37, 6:44 and 16:15.
        John 6:44:
        Without God’s grace, he cannot by his own free will move himself toward justice in God’s sight
        Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1993
        Thus Catholics believe God must first take the initiative to draw us to Christ – we cannot use our freewill to initiate our salvation, i.e. to come to Christ. We do use our freewill to respond to God’s grace, i.e. we either cooperate or reject it. Thus if a person does not become a believer after God draws him then his condemnation does not come from God but from his own decision. Scripture says that grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men (Titus 2:11).
        John 6:37
        Catholics agree that Christ would not cast any of His believers but we can use our freewill to decide to leave Him. Example from Scripture is in John 17:12 when Christ said (Capitalized emphasis): “While I was with them, I kept them in thy name, which THOU HAST GIVEN ME; I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that Scripture might be fulfilled.” Here Christ talked about his twelve disciples whom God the Father gave to Him and following John 6:37 He would not cast them out but one of them (Judas) later betrayed Him.
        John 16:15
        To see the context you should read John 6:12-14. Those verses have nothing to do with predestination

        Now let me ask you the following question: how do you reconcile your double predestination belief, even non-symmetric one, with 1 Cor 15:22 and Titus 2:11?

      • vivator / Mar 1 2012 9:24 pm

        Below is what I found from what Reformed scholar Louis Berkhof (1873 – 1957) wrote in Systematic Theology:
        Berkhof defined reprobation (page 116) as eternal decree of God whereby He has determined to pass some men by with the operations of His special grace, and to punish them for their sins, to the manifestation of His justice.

        He also wrote on the same page (capitalized emphasis is mine) “The POSITIVE side of reprobation is so clearly taught in Scripture as the opposite of election that we cannot regard it as something purely negative, Rom:9:21,22; Jude 4.”

        Thus both Berkhof and Catholic Encyclopedia use the term positive reprobation to define Reprobation in Calvinism. The question is whether positive reprobation is equal to active reprobation (which neither Berkhof nor Catholic Encyclopedia use). From what Berkhof wrote these two are different, assuming that the term “active reprobation” even exists. In the words of Berkhof (page 117):

        God’s decree undoubtedly rendered the entrance of sin into the world certain, but He did not predestinate some unto sin, as He did others unto holiness. And as the holy God He cannot be the author of sin. The position which Calvin takes on this point in his Institution is clearly indicated in the following deliverances found in Calvin’s Article on Predestination:
        “Although the will of God is the supreme and first cause of all things and God holds the devil and all the impious subject to His will, God nevertheless cannot be called the cause of sin, nor the author of evil, neither is He open to any blame.
        “Although the devil and reprobates are God’s servants and instruments to carry out His secret decisions, nevertheless in an incomprehensible manner God so works in them and through them as to contract no stain from their vice, because their malice is used in a just and righteous way for a good end, although the manner is often hidden from us.

        To conclude (1) Reformed position on Reprobation is Positive Unconditional Reprobation while that of Catholic is Positive Conditional Reprobation and (2) positive reprobation is not equal to active reprobation, even if the latter term exists.

      • jpfinn7 / Mar 1 2012 9:38 pm

        In my opinion you are writing hog wash. Come out of your Ivory tower, learn to pray and win people to Christ. Quit trying to be equal to God in understanding and learn to be a productive Christian. Jim Finn

      • vivator / Mar 1 2012 10:35 pm

        How do you conclude that I try to be equal to God? Does Scripture ask us not to bear false witness against your neighbor?

      • FourFingersBackAtYou / Feb 29 2012 7:53 pm

        Sorry I may not have been clear enough – I was asking for the ‘official Roman Catholic interpretations’ with references, not your own personal interpretations.

        By the way, I meant to refer to John 15:16 (not 16:15) : “You did not choose me, but I chose you…” ESV

        The other verses are:
        ”All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” John 6:37 ESV
        “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:44 ESV

      • vivator / Feb 29 2012 9:29 pm

        As far as I know there is no such thing as official Catholic interpretation, something equivalent to Catechism of the Catholic CHurch.
        I already answer your questions for John 6:37 and 44. How about John 15:16? Catholics have no problem with John 15:16. We can neither use our freewill to chose Christ nor to come to him (John 6:44). The initiative always come from God and using our freewill we respond to Him. In semi-pelagianism, on the other hand, we can use our freewill to make the first step and then God will assist us with His Grace – they, of course, will have problem with verses you quoted.

        Please answer my question – I don’t need official interpretation from your church but you may quote from your scholars.

  4. jpfinn7 / Feb 28 2012 5:54 am

    Grace is from God. Mixing grace with good works to obtain Salvation gives merit to those doing the good works. A Christian does good works because they are Saved, not to obtain Salvation. Big difference. Jesus Christ is the Saviour. He Saves people one at a time. The Bible clearly teaches that we are all sinners and in order to be Saved, we must turn to Him. He is the Saviour. Not us as individuals. Not the Church. We can not Save ourselves. The Church can not Save us. Jesus Christ is the Saviour! It’s not a matter of our logic. It is a matter on what the Bible clearly teaches.

    • vivator / Feb 28 2012 7:00 pm

      Thank you for your comment. Catholics do not mix grace and works and we do not believe we can merit anything from our works like we merit our salary through our works – our merit comes from God’grace and it is gift from Him. You may read my post on this issue at:
      https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/merits-in-catholicism/
      For scriptural relation between grace and works you may read Phil 2:12-13 and 1 Cor 15:10.
      Catholics do believe that Christ is Saviour, the only way to God. Scripture also says the Church is the Body of Christ – saying that Christ is Saviour but refusing to belong to His Body does not make sense.
      To understand what Catholics believe in salvation and its difference with that of Protestants you may read my page at:
      https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/223-2/

      • jpfinn7 / Feb 28 2012 7:33 pm

        Does the Roman Catholic Church teach that by praying for people in purgatory that it helps remove and pay for their sins and thus making their stay in purgatory time shorter? Just curious as to what your name is? My name is Jim Finn. Are you a Catholic priest? Thanks much for your time and information.

      • vivator / Feb 28 2012 7:53 pm

        I am not priest but structural engineer. My personal web site is at http://www.whartono.ca where you can know more about me (obviously not everything). My testimony why I became evangelical from nominal Catholic person and why I returned to the Catholic Church can be found at top of my blog: Rediscovering Catholicism.
        To answer your question you may first read my post on purgatory at
        https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2007/10/20/why-purgatory/
        and then on Catholic understanding of merits at
        https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/merits-in-catholicism/

      • jpfinn7 / Feb 29 2012 10:12 am

        For a good study on how we got our Bible, Please go to the main page on http://jpfinn7.wordpress.com There is a published article with much information. Thank you, Jim Finn

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